Noctua NH-D15 G2 update has quieter fans, more heatpipes, new offset design

Noctua NH-D15 G2 at Computex 2024
(Image credit: Future)

Noctua showed off its highly anticipated next-generation NH-D15 CPU air cooler at Computex 2024. The new Noctua NH-D15 G2 is primed to claim the throne as the ultimate air cooler, but it has taken the firm a decade since the original NH-D15 succeeded the legendary NH-D14 to prepare this successor. Fundamental changes with the new NH-D15 G2 design include quieter fans, more heatpipes, a denser fin stack, and a new offset design. PC DIYers should be able to grab a new Noctua NH-D15 G2 later this month.

For a second-generation device coming a decade later, at first glance, the new NH-D15 G2 CPU air cooler doesn’t look a whole lot different from the 2014 original. It remains a dual-tower design in the coffee and cream (and silver) livery we expect. However, Noctua has quite a laundry list of changes that no doubt add up to create a more desirable G2 model.

The new selling points that Noctua wants to stress with the NH-D15 G2 are as follows:

  • New fans with superior P/Q performance and speed-offset for acoustic optimisation
  • Tailored fin stacks with reduced fin pitch (1.6 instead of 1.9mm), 20% more surface area
  • 8 instead of 6 heatpipes
  • Offset design for better PCIe clearance, 9mm less overall depth

Noctua also highlighted the inclusion of a Torx-based SecuFirm2+ mounting system (screwdriver provided) with an offset option for AM5 board users. Moreover, buyers will get a thermal paste guard for AM5 chips and a set of NA-ISW1 shim-washers for improved contact on LGA1700. A shot of NT-H2 thermal paste is also provided, which is convenient.

Interestingly, Noctua also discusses three sub-variants of the NH-D15 G2, which vary by baseplate convexity. The standard NH-D15 G2 uses a medium base convexity, like a traditional heatsink from the firm. However, it will also offer the N H-D15 G2 LBC (Low Base Convexity) and NH-D15 G2 HBC (High Base Convexity). Some slides illustrating the merits of standard, LBC, and HBC contact profiles are provided below.

The Three Degrees

While we wait for the Noctua NH-D15 G2 to become available, readers must wonder what gains they could expect from this refined and modernized air cooler. According to Noctua’s testing, following the Noctua Standardized Performance Rating (NSPR) methodology, “the NH-D15 G2 performs 3.2°C better than the original NH-D15.”

Probably more impressive is the claim that the upcoming NH-D15 G2 can handle CPUs boosting 160W higher than its direct ancestor. According to Noctua, its next-gen cooler could hold CPU temperatures at a stable 60 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes, even with a thermal load pushed past 600W.

In summary, the new NH-D15 G2 is claimed to be “easily Noctua’s best-performing model to date.” We look forward to getting one of these CPU air coolers in the labs and thoroughly testing it. Hopefully, the firm will stick to its touted ETA of June 2024.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

With contributions from
  • bit_user
    I can't believe how much air they're still allowing to leak out the top and bottom of the fan frames! If I got this, the first thing I'd do is tape something over the exhaust side of that part of the fan frames, at the top, thus forcing more air through the fin stack.

    What to do at the bottom is a trickier question. I wouldn't want to block the entire gap, but maybe just a strip right below the bottom of the fin stack.
    Reply
  • helper800
    I cannot wait until Albert's review of this new cooler!

    bit_user said:
    I can't believe how much air they're still allowing to leak out the top and bottom of the fan frames! If I got this, the first thing I'd do is tape something over the exhaust side of that part of the fan frames, at the top, thus forcing more air through the fin stack.

    What to do at the bottom is a trickier question. I wouldn't want to block the entire gap, but maybe just a strip right below the bottom of the fin stack.
    I have seen people do this mod to prior coolers and the differences were always margin of error. Though I can understand trying to eek out every last drop of water from the rock.
    Reply
  • Eximo
    fLQGi1IView: https://i.imgur.com/fLQGi1I.gif
    Reply
  • bit_user
    helper800 said:
    I have seen people do this mod to prior coolers and the differences were always margin of error. Though I can understand trying to eek out every last drop of water from the rock.
    I'm sure it would work better if you had actual ducts and not just walls.
    Reply
  • TheHerald
    More interested in the fans rather than the cooler. These are the first 140 LCP fans
    Reply
  • Notton
    If you use ducts, it'll work better if you use a thick single tower and do a 180mm push and 140mm pull (but only because 180mm doesn't fit on the back of a case)
    Reply
  • 35below0
    I was looking at replacing my NH-D15 fans... what fortuitous happenstance!
    Reply
  • cyrusfox
    bit_user said:
    I can't believe how much air they're still allowing to leak out the top and bottom of the fan frames! If I got this, the first thing I'd do is tape something over the exhaust side of that part of the fan frames, at the top, thus forcing more air through the fin stack.

    What to do at the bottom is a trickier question. I wouldn't want to block the entire gap, but maybe just a strip right below the bottom of the fin stack.
    Air flow across the top of the fins is still doing useful heat transfer, blocking out that small portion will not appreciably improve the fans static pressure to make up for the reduced airflow over the external fins. As others have suggested, doing a duct design enables overcoming the impedance issues open air coolers deal with, blocky + ugly, really only make sense for the OEMs(many Dell and HP SFF use to utilize chambers for this very reason).

    If anyone is doing CFDs on their design choices it would be noctua, I only wish they would up their lowprofile game, as other choices are superior than their meager offers at sub 55mm height, but their fans are world class, and their coolers hold resale value. I resold mine for the same price I bought it at 3 years later (got to love inflation...).
    Reply
  • eX_Arkangel
    on the bottom part i keep wondering why all manufacturers refuse to try and somehow attach more fins as close to the actual base/90ish degree bend of the pipes, even if they are smaller fins in every metric and spread wider, half clipped from one side etc, also why they dont enlarge the socket part above the heatpipes with an chipset like heatsink (old chipsets) around (or being part of) the mounting mechanism, with the middle fan having a bottom cavity in the frame to allow some airflow to go down and the outer fan already pushing air in that direction, i mean those are the closest parts to the actual heat source and somehow are the ones with less dissipation capacity equipped.
    Another doubt/curiosity i have... do heatpipes work better if seated on a horizontally laid heat source (cpu-gpu) with the heatpipes bending vertically up (not down like in current GPU's), just like in aircooled server racks, if so why isn't there a more aggressive alignment offset to one particular side for lateral seated CPU's.
    Also why they keep just aligning the heatpipes (in most DT coolers) straight parallel instead of sig zagging them for better fin area heat dissipation distribution (and maybe if done with lab testing, some airflow enhancement due to using pipes as air directional elements (something like they did with the NH-U12A etc).
    Also why straight fins and no slight wave shape to them like a soft horizontal "~" shape (maybe done in both axis), forcing some air turbulence within the fins and making the air bounce more over the surface of the fin stack.

    PD: just my personal opinion, maybe I'm just getting wrong how heatpipes really work, and that bare gap is needed for proper cooling. And the rest is just doubts/crazy thoughts i've had for years now regarding air coolers in particular, the only ones close to my imagination were old Zalman Coolers from 2000s, and some old Thermalright coolers.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    cyrusfox said:
    Air flow across the top of the fins is still doing useful heat transfer,
    Not much.

    cyrusfox said:
    blocking out that small portion will not appreciably improve the fans static pressure to make up for the reduced airflow over the external fins.
    Think about it like this: if it increases airflow by like 5%, that's equivalent to another 5% higher RPM but without the associated noise. When you get into the loud range of a fan's RPMs, 5% more can make a noticeable difference. Depends on the fan, of course.

    cyrusfox said:
    If anyone is doing CFDs on their design choices it would be noctua,
    I'm not saying it's not good enough, as is, but maybe just not as good as it could possibly be.

    Also, you've got to look at what Thermalright has been able to accomplish, often at significantly lower price points, to see that Noctua isn't the be-all and end-all of CPU cooling!
    https://www.tomshardware.com/pc-components/air-cooling/thermalrights-peerless-assassin-120-se-is-the-best-cpu-air-cooler-now-only-dollar33
    cyrusfox said:
    their fans are world class, and their coolers hold resale value.
    I used to think this until I tried both their NF-A9x14 PWM and NF-A9x14 HS-PWM fans. They're only good below about 1000 RPM. Above that, they whine as badly as any other fan I've heard. I saw some reviewers claim this, but I decided to try the HS version just to make sure I didn't get a dud with the first fan.

    Beyond that, perhaps you didn't notice but there are other players in the fan game and they're not just sitting on the sidelines.

    https://www.anandtech.com/show/21198/the-alphacool-apex-stealth-metal-120-mm-fans-capsule-review
    https://www.anandtech.com/show/21376/capsule-review-sunon-maglev-120mm-fan
    cyrusfox said:
    I resold mine for the same price I bought it at 3 years later (got to love inflation...).
    Must've been due to some pandema-era supply chain craziness. I doubt that would happen today.
    Reply